Revising the Canon

So, what would we read that we don't already? Once we expand our horizons, there are many potential paths to take. Below is one possibility, not quite a syllabus (probably too much to cover in a semester), but a set of readings and topics from which a syllabus could be created. Over the next few months I will discuss/defend these selections. I will also discuss some potential objections, and the practical difficulties involved in expanding the course in this way. Those with some familiarity with the material will realize that I am not being too fussy about chronology, I am more interested in getting texts to speak to each other. Feel free to make suggestions/criticisms in the comments.

1: Anarchy

Flannery & Marcus, The Creation of Inequality (Harvard University Press, 2012, selections)

2: In the City of the Gods

Enheduanna, Nin-me-sar-ra (Women's Political and Social Thought, Smith and Carroll, eds.)

3: Death and Glory

The Epic of Gilgamesh (Andrew George, trans.)

Homer, Iliad  (selections, Richmond Lattimore, trans.)

Homer, Odyssey (selections, Richmond Lattimore, trans.)

4: Narrating the Political Community

Egil's Saga (The Sagas of the Icelanders (Penguin Classics edition))

The Epic of Son-Jara (Oral Epics from Africa: Vibrant Voices from a Vast Continent, Johnson, Hale and Belcher, eds. [this version is very reduced, see Son-Jara: The Mande Epic, Sisoko and Johnson])

5: Codes of Constraint

Code of Hammurabi (Avalon Project)

The Edicts of As'oka (Nikam and Mckeon, eds. and trans.)

The Law Code of Manu (A Source Book in Indian Philosophy, Radhakrishnan and Moore, eds.)

6: Perfecting the Regime

Plato, The Republic (Grube/Reeve trans.)

The Huainanzi (The Essential ..., Major, trans.)

7: Cultivation of the Self

Confucius (Kongzi), Analects (Readings in Classical Chinese Philosophy, Ivanhoe and Van Norden, eds.)

Mozi (Readings in Classical Chinese Philosophy, Ivanhoe and Van Norden, eds.)

Mencius (Mengzi) (Readings in Classical Chinese Philosophy, Ivanhoe and Van Norden, eds.)

Xunzi (Readings in Classical Chinese Philosophy, Ivanhoe and Van Norden, eds.)

Laozi, Daodejing (Readings in Classical Chinese Philosophy, Ivanhoe and Van Norden, eds.) 

Seneca, "On Peace of Mind," "On the Private Life," (Seneca: Moral and Political Essays, Cooper and Procope, eds. and trans.)

Cicero, On Duties (Griffin and Atkins, eds. and trans.)

Lucretius, The Nature of Things (Copley trans.)

[Nagajurna's Precious Garland might be appropriate here, but I'd don't have a copy to hand]

 8: Maintaining the Regime

Aristotle, Politics (Lord trans.)

Han Feizi, (Readings in Classical Chinese Philosophy, Ivanhoe and Van Norden, eds.)

Kautylia, Arthashustra (A Source Book in Indian Philosophy, Radhakrishnan and Moore, eds.)

9: Daughters of Enheduanna

Sei Shonagon, The Pillow Book (Women's Political and Social Thought, Smith and Carroll, eds.)

Li Ch'ing-Chao, selected poems (Rexroth and Chung, eds. and trans.)

Marie de France, Lais ('Guigemar,' 'Lanval,' 'Chevrefoil,' in Penguin Classics edition)

Trobairitz, selected lyrics (The Writings of Medieval Women: An Anthology, 2nd edition, Marcelle Thiebaux, trans.)

Catherine of Siena, The Dialogue (Women's Political and Social Thought, Smith and Carroll, eds.)

Anna Comnena, portrait of Anna Dalassena in the Alexiad, pp. 118-122 (Penguin Classics edition)

10: Reason and Revelation

Augustine, City of God (Political Writings, Hackett edition)

Aquinas, Summa Theologica (The Political Ideas of St. Thomas Aquinas, Hafner Press)

Marsilius, Defender of the Peace

Maimonides, The Guide of the Perplexed

al-Farabi, The Political Regime

Ibn Sina, Healing: Metaphysics 10

al-Ghazali, The Deliverer from Error

Ibn Rushd, The Decisive Treatise

 [Relatively brief selections for all authors in this section, except Augustine, are available in Medieval Political Philosophy: A Sourcebook, 2nd edition, Parens and Macfarland, eds.]

11: Bodies Politic

Marie de France, "The Fable of a Man, his Belly, and his Limbs" (Readings in Medieval Political Theory, Hackett edition, Nederman and Forhan)

John of Salisbury, Policraticus (Readings in Medieval Political Theory, Hackett edition, Nederman and Forhan)

Christine de Pizan, Book of the Body Politic (Cambridge University Press, Forhan, Ed.and trans.)

[Sources for these readings are sometimes to the books I happen to have accumulated, or to editions I think could be affordable for students and useable in a course. They may not be the best final sources. As I discuss full readings, I will provide fuller citations.]